Oxford Dictionaries tapped selfie, first used by a partying young Australian in 2002, as word of the year.
Allegations have surfaced that the US used allies' embassies in Asia to spy on other countries, prompting fresh fury from leaders and apologetic words from Secretary of State John Kerry.
Neighbors are organizing support groups, and the prime minister - a trained firefighter volunteer - secretly served a firefighting shift, as the worst fires in 50 years approach Sydney's suburbs.
The second such incident in less than a week comes on the heels of an announcement that Australia won't accept new boat arrivals.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Friday that all refugees arriving by boat will be sent to Papua New Guinea – a hardline stance he hopes will win votes.